|Lifetime Variation In Choosiness In Female Enchenopa binotata Treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracidae)|
|Sara A. Seidita, Bretta L. Speck, Rafael L. Rodriguez. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, United States
Mate choice decisions arise from the interactions of preference functions and choosiness. Preference functions specify the attractiveness ranking of potential mates; and choosiness is the difference in effort that a given female will expend to obtain preferred versus non-preferred mates. Choosiness is expected to decrease with age to help ensure mating. We tested this hypothesis with Enchenopa treehoppers, plant-feeding insects that communicate with plant-borne vibrational signals. We presented females with playbacks of attractive and unattractive male signals and recorded their responses to each (Enchenopa females duet with preferred males). We tested females weekly until their death. We measured choosiness by subtracting unattractive duet length from attractive duet length. We found that female choosiness decreased with age. Female mass did not change with age, indicating that it did not influence the change in choosiness. Choosiness plays a significant role in mate choice decisions throughout the female treehoppers’ lifetime. The decrease in choosiness gives an increased availability in mate selection which is important for biological fitness in nature.